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Book details of 'Disclosure'

Cover of Disclosure
TitleDisclosure
Author(s)Michael Crichton
ISBN0345391055
LanguageEnglish
PublishedOctober 1994
PublisherBallantine Books
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virtualbookcase.com score: 5.0 *****  Vote for this book

The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Disclosure':

Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
The majority of the books reviewed in this series are technical in some respect. With the exception of "Eaters of the Dead," "Disclosure" might be considered the least technical of Crichton's corpus. However, there are a couple of points to be made. The plot is played out against the backdrop of the high tech industry. Once again, Crichton has demonstrated that, whatever technical understanding he had when he started the writing kick, he is long out of date and way over his head. A presentation of an Internet message header looks as if it might have been run through PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) first. (The domain name is .com.edu, for crying out loud. Are we to assume that the for-profit educational businesses have their own slice of the .edu domain?) I will admit that the trick of having what appears to be an email spoof turn out to be a simple piece of social engineering is cute, but does show that the author has no idea how childishly easy it is to spoof SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). DAT (Digital *Audio* Tape) is not that popular as a storage medium, and videoconferences, if stored at all, would probably be kept on 8mm, if from a real video feed, or in a QuickTime or MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group) format file if done over the net. The manufacturing problems are partially realistic, but mostly not. Out-of-spec components from suppliers are always a concern. But hand- placement of chips would not create reliability problems. Hand-placed chips would require old fashioned socketing, which isn't used anymore. You could possibly do hand-placement with through-board standing-wave soldering fabrication. It would simply be impossible with modern surface-mount manufacturing pin densities. Someone who was already worried about air quality would immediately understand the implications of a request for sealed packages, so it is hard to see why he would cooperate, given his involvement. But in any case, CD- ROM drives are removable drives, and as such must be designed to operate in ambient air quality. Particulate aerosols would be a non- issue, for manufacturing defects. The virtual reality system is not unreasonable. (Yes, OK, Crichton gets a point for knowing one data security insider joke, and another point for not pushing it.) The very helpful ability to see who else is in the system (even those accessing the database from outside the VR), *and* to see what they are doing, is a bit much. What Web page tells you how many other people are accessing it at the same time, let alone a secured system? Since the book is all about power, it is odd that one power equation is left out. Tom is the naif, used as the foil to allow the author to get in his preaching about sexual harassment. It is easy to feel for mentor Max's exasperation with Tom, since Tom never really does anything, it all (including the conveniently high access entry card) just drops into his lap. Or, it would be easier if Max ever came up with any ideas, or there was ever any result from his incessant needling. (Of course, nothing ever comes of the bad guys plots, either ...) Meredith, of course, is the ambitious game-player, but seems, by the end, to be better described as a sociopath. The denouement is very weak, relying, as it does, on a socio-cultural analysis that would be completely beyond her. (Simple forgetfulness might work ...) Actually, though, Meredith is nowhere near as conniving as Crichton foreshadows. Mark represents those of limited competence, able to deal with their jobs, but not really understanding what is going on around them. Stephanie proves Kipling's point: the female *is* much more subtle and deadly than the male. Bob seems to represent the world, irresponsibly throwing, with failing and basically despairing hands, the torch to those whom it really has not judged. But the real tragedy is Don. Don who actually produces. Don who solves the problem. Don who is relegated to his basement lab and his minor revenge easter egg buried in help menus. Don, whose work and job lies at the mercy of the feuding mandarins who do not understand what they are fighting over. Which oversight, on its own, basically proves that Crichton is out of touch.

Reviewer Koos van den Hout wrote:
In the excruciating detailed writing style of Michael Crichton the story of a man in a web of sexual harassment and company matters with more behind it then is visible. A movie has been made of this book but it's not a very good version of the story.

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